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Preview: The Official Google Blog

The Official Google Blog



Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture.



Last Build Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2017 17:00:00 +0000

 



10 things you can do with your new Pixel 210 things you can do with your new Pixel 2Vice President and General Manager for Phones

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 17:00:00 +0000

It’s here! Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL hit shelves today in the U.S. Here’s a few things you can do with your Pixel 2, right out of the box. 1. Transfer your stuff from your old phone in less than 10 minutes—photos, videos, music, contacts, calendar events, apps, messages, and more. Just plug in the the cord and follow the simple instructions on the screen to make the switch. If you need help, there’s a team available 24/7 to talk you through it.2. Say cheese! Pixel 2 has the highest-rated smartphone camera ever, with a DxOMark Mobile score of 98. Take brilliant photos in any light, and play around with new exposure controls and features like Smartburst, which takes a rapid-fire sequence of shots. Get motion photos with every shot. Pixel 2 also comes with incredible video stabilization, thanks to a combination of both optical and electronic image stabilization. × 3. Focus. New portrait mode in the Pixel 2 front and rear cameras gives you crisp, beautiful portraits and selfies with a gorgeous background blur (on both Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL). For more on portrait mode, including some tips for how to take the best portraits, see this post. 4. Get unlimited storage for all your memories. All Pixel 2 users get free unlimited storage in the highest resolution for all of the photos and videos taken on your Pixel with Google Photos.5. Search what you see with Google Lens in Google Photos. With this preview, just for Pixel 2 users, you can learn about the world around you and get things done. Save phone numbers and email addresses right to your contacts; learn more about landmarks, artwork, books, movies, music albums, and video games; or copy and share URLs from posters. 6. Just squeeze the sides of your phone, say “Ok Google,” or long press the Home button to call on your Google Assistant for help finding answers and getting things done. The Google Assistant understands you, so you don’t have to edit the text messages you dictate. Ask to play a song on Google Play Music, YouTube Music, or Spotify. Or control your phone by saying “turn on night light, "do not disturb” or "change my ringtone" and your Google Assistant will make it happen—no need to dig into settings. 7. Get big entertainment wherever you go. Pixel 2 comes with a razor-sharp display and dual front-facing stereo speakers for crystal-clear sound. It also delivers high quality audio through the new USB-C headphone port and through the updated, hi-fi Bluetooth support. With Fast Pair, you can quickly and easily set up compatible wireless headphones with just a tap.8. See the important stuff at a glance. With Always-On-Display, you can see the time and notifications without waking up your phone. 9. Name that tune. On your Always-On-Display, the Now Playing feature will show you song and artist info for music playing around you. This works entirely on the device, so no audio is sent to Google.10. Play well with others. Pixel is made to work seamlessly with your other Google devices. Say “Ok Google, play recommended videos on the TV” and your Assistant helps you keep watching on Chromecast without missing a beat. Or ask your Assistant on Google Home to “find my phone” to hear it ring and find its last location. We’re adding new features all the time, and as the rest of our hardware family hits stores this fall, your Pixel will work with those too.[...]Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL hit shelves today in the U.S. Here are some things you can do with the newest phone made by Google.


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Helping NASA and JPL bring the surface of Mars to your browserHelping NASA and JPL bring the surface of Mars to your browserInteractive Producer

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 16:09:00 +0000

On August 6, 2012, the Curiosity rover landed on Mars. Ever since, it’s been searching for evidence that Mars has ever been suitable for life. It’s also been photographing the Martian terrain in great detail. Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab use these photos to create a 3D model of Mars. It’s a one-of-a-kind scientific tool for planning future missions.


Today, we’re putting that same 3D model into an immersive experience for everyone to explore. We call it Access Mars, and it lets you see what the scientists see. Get a real look at Curiosity’s landing site and other mission sites like Pahrump Hills and Murray Buttes. Plus, JPL will continuously update the data so you can see where Curiosity has just been in the past few days or weeks. All along the way, JPL scientist Katie Stack Morgan will be your guide, explaining key points about the rover, the mission, and some of the early findings.


The experience is built using WebVR, a technology that lets you see virtual reality right in your browser, without installing any apps. You can try it on a virtual reality headset, phone, or laptop.


Check it out at g.co/accessmars.


And if you’re an educator, we’ve updated our Mars tour in Google Expeditions with highlights from this experience. To try it with your class or in self-guided mode, download the Expeditions app from Google Play or the App Store.

(image) The real surface of Mars. Photographed by the Curiosity rover. Used by NASA JPL scientists. Now in your browser.


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Delivering better government services at lower costs with ChromeDelivering better government services at lower costs with ChromeDirector of Application Services

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Vijay Badal, Director of Application Services of DOTComm. Founded in 2003, DOTComm provides centralized IT support and consulting for 70 government agencies in the city of Omaha and Douglas County, NE. DOTComm uses Chrome browser and G Suite to improve employee productivity and mobility and cut IT costs.At DOTComm, our employees provide technical support for more than 5,000 government workers throughout Omaha and Douglas County. Because these workers are spread across 120 different locations, our employees need access to the tools they need to do their jobs whether they’re in the office or on site with our customers. Several years ago, we realized the legacy systems we were using were getting in the way.When employees had to travel to provide technical support for the government agencies we serve, they didn’t have mobile access to important documents, or the ability to share and send files back to the office, such as videos that outlined technical issues. In addition, hardware and licensing were costly, and inflexible productivity applications were making it difficult for employees to collaborate or work from the road. Plus, we needed half a dozen employees just to maintain our infrastructure!To solve these challenges, we turned to Chrome and G Suite. Chrome is fast, secure and gives our staff access to thousands of useful extensions. It’s also allowed us to standardize across our desktop and mobile devices. G Suite has helped us cut hardware costs and improve collaboration and mobility. With Chrome and G Suite, we no longer pay thousands of dollars in annual licensing fees, and we’ve reduced the number of people managing infrastructure from six to one, freeing up the other five people to work on different tasks.Chrome’s extensions have been big productivity boosters. One extension syncs the staffs’ Google calendars with their Salesforce calendars. Previously, employees had to check two separate apps and cross-reference two separate calendars. Now they only need to check one. Another extension gives staff mobile access to Google Docs and Google Sheets. This means they can work nearly anywhere. When they’re out of the office, or in the field, they can create and share files on any device they need.As an IT department, we’re particularly pleased with the security and other IT benefits we get with Google. Chrome has built-in malware and phishing protection, and we use the G Suite admin console to ensure all user downloads are stored on the same network drive so they can be checked for malware. The G Suite admin console lets us control Chrome settings for employees, including adding extensions on whitelists so employees can use them, pushing recommended extensions to users, and rolling out Chrome updates on a scheduled timeframe. That’s made our IT administrators’ lives much easier and has been a huge timesaver. And because we centrally manage the rollout of extensions for new employees, individual city and departments no longer need to have a dedicated IT person working on new hire application orientation. So we save time and money with each new hire.Meanwhile, the number of help tickets for IT support has plummeted, from 30 a day to one or two. For example, we no longer have to deal with local archive files, which means our staff spends less time troubleshooting and the government employees we serve don’t waste time wrestling with unfamiliar technology. Productivity has increased as well. For example, City Police, City Fire, and County Health departments all use shared Google Sheets within their individual precincts for shift change management. This allows them to roll over shift changes swiftly and efficiently, without missing any critical ongoing task assignments.Chrome browser and G Suite have allowed us to offer more secure and productive IT services to all City of Omaha and Douglas County employees, who are then able to better serve citizens. DOTComm and the City of Omaha were recently honored as one[...]



Google Home Mini has arrived—here’s what you can do with itGoogle Home Mini has arrived—here’s what you can do with itGoogle Home Mini Product Manager

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:00:00 +0000

A few weeks ago we unveiled Google Home Mini, the newest addition to the Google Home family. About the size of a donut, it has all the smarts of the Google Assistant and gives you hands-free help in any room of your house. Starting today, you can grab it online from the Google Store or online or on shelves of Best Buy, Walmart, Target and other stores.

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Just start with “Hey Google” to get answers from your Google Assistant, tackle your day, enjoy music or TV shows, and control your compatible smart home devices. And with Voice Match, the Assistant can tell your voice from others—up to six people can get personal assistance on each device.

Here are six fun things you can do with your Mini:

  1. Find my phone: When you lose your phone in the couch cushions, your Assistant can find it for you. “Hey Google, find my phone” will ring your Android phone (even if it’s on silent) or your iPhone.
  2. Set a sleep timer: Fall asleep to the sweet sounds of your favorite music or podcast by saying, “Hey Google, set a sleep timer for 30 minutes.”
  3. Play news by voice on your TV: Stay on top of current events with YouTube news playlists from sources like ABC, Fox and NBC. With a Chromecast-connected TV, you can ask say: “Hey Google, play the news on my TV” or “Ok Google, play sports news on my TV.”
  4. Turn the TV on and off: With Google Home, Chromecast, and a compatible TV you can just say “Hey Google, turn off the TV.”
  5. Enable night mode: In night mode, Mini’s lights dim and the volume lowers so that you you don’t disturb others in your household when it’s late (or early).
  6. Set a default TV or speaker: Choose a Chromecast-connected TV to be your default screen, so you don’t need to mention the device's name in your voice command. When you say “Play yoga videos,” they’ll play on the TV you’ve set as the default. It works the same way for speakers connected to Chromecast Audio—you can designate a group of speakers that cover several rooms (“first floor,” for example) as the default. Then say “Hey Google, play workout playlist” and it will automatically start playing on that group of speakers.

You can start using these features today with any Google Home or Google Home Mini—and stay tuned for lots more to come!

(image) Starting today, you can purchase Google Home Mini online at the Google Store, or find it at other retailers including Best Buy, Walmart and Target.


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From paw prints to a digital footprint: a tailor shop attracts new customersFrom paw prints to a digital footprint: a tailor shop attracts new customers

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:00:00 +0000

A chubby French Bulldog keeps watch in front of a vintage-looking tailor shop in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. Meet Bruno, the face of Village Tailor and Cleaners. Vince, the shop’s owner, immigrated to the U.S. from Italy when he was just 18 years old, establishing Village Tailor in 1977. Today, his family-run business has grown into three locations and is best known for its skilled leather and suede alterations. Inside the shop, a wall covered in autographed photos of celebrity customers—Celine Dion, Marc Anthony, Elton John, and others—is a testament to the iconic quality of Vince's work. Vince and Bruno outside the shop. While Bruno had been doing a wonderful job bringing in passersby, Vince knew he needed a way to stand out from the many tailoring shops in SoHo and reach more customers.Vince noticed that most of his customers were walking in with a bag of clothes in one hand, and researching local businesses on their cell phone with the other. So, he decided to get his business online. He saw it as similar to Bruno sitting out front: their online presence could spark curiosity, help them stand out, and invite in new customers. Bruno is on the lookout for new customers ... and treats. He set up Village Tailor's Google listing, so that he could edit how his business appears when people find it on Google Search and Maps. He added photos to his listing, posted updates about his skilled alterations, and used Google website builder to create a free high-quality website from his phone in less than 10 minutes. Now, when he asks new customers how they found his shop, they often mention Google. Having an online presence not only helped Vince reach new customers, but it allowed him to build relationships with his existing customers by responding to reviews. Knowing that people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, reviews are an opportunity to adapt his business to customers’ needs. The results have been great for Village Tailor: within weeks of getting online, Vince noticed they were bringing in on average five more customers per week. After three months, that number increased to 15 per week, representing a 30% revenue increase per year for Vince. The store’s early success with Google My Business inspired Vince to try AdWords, advertising to potential customers searching on Google for keywords related to tailoring. Since customers raved about the leather and suede work in Village Tailor’s Google reviews, Vince focused on those services in his online ads which brought in even more revenue. That meant he could hire more tailors and invest in new equipment to keep up with the long lines of customers. Now, while Bruno will always have a place in front of Village Tailor, Google brings in most of their customers. Sorry Bruno! Father and son: two generations of excellence in alterations. Today, Vince’s son Vincent Jr. manages Village Cobbler, the shoe repair shop next door. Continuing the family business’s tradition of excellent craftsmanship in shoes and leather goods, his newest mission is to get Village Cobbler 100% online, with an eCommerce website that offers shipping all over the U.S. He also plans to find new customers with Google My Business and Google AdWords, just like his father has, to keep the family business growing.[...]How the owner of a vintage tailor shop used Google products to attract new customers.


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A focus on portrait mode: behind the scenes with Pixel 2’s camera featuresA focus on portrait mode: behind the scenes with Pixel 2’s camera featuresProduct Manager

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

This week the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google’s newest smartphones, arrive in stores. Both devices come with features like Now Playing, the Google Assistant, and the best-rated smartphone camera ever, according to DXO. We designed Pixel 2’s camera by asking how we can make the camera in your Pixel 2 act like SLRs and other big cameras, and we’ve talked before about the tech we use to do that (such as HDR+). Today we’re highlighting a new feature for Pixel 2’s camera: portrait mode. With portrait mode, you can take pictures of your friends and family (that includes your pets too!) that keep what’s important sharp and in focus, but softly blur out the background. This helps draw your attention to the people in your pictures and keeps you from getting distracted by what’s in the background. This works on both Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, on both the rear- and front-facing cameras. Pictures without (left) and with (right) portrait mode. Photo by Matt Jones Technically, blurring out the background like this is an effect called “shallow depth of field.” The big lenses on SLRs can be configured to do this by changing their aperture, but smartphone cameras have fixed, small apertures that produce images where everything is more or less sharp. To create this effect with a smartphone camera, we need to know which parts of the image are far away in order to blur them artificially.Normally, to determine what’s far away with a smartphone camera you’d need to use two cameras close to each other, then triangulate the depth of various parts of the scene—just like your eyes work. But on Pixel 2 we’re able to combine computational photography and machine learning to do the same with just one camera. How portrait mode works on the Pixel 2Portrait mode starts with an HDR+ picture where everything is sharp and high-quality.Next, our technology needs to decide which pixels belong to the foreground of the image (a person, or your dog) and which belong to the background. This is called a “segmentation mask” and it’s where machine learning comes in. We trained a neural network to look at a picture and understand which pixels are people and which aren’t. Because photos of people may also include things like hats, sunglasses, and ice cream cones, we trained our network on close to a million pictures—including pictures with things like those!Just creating two layers—foreground and background, with a hard edge in between them—isn’t quite enough for all pictures you’d want to take; SLRs produce blur that gets stronger with each fraction of an inch further from the thing that’s in sharp focus. To recreate that look with Pixel 2’s rear camera, we use the new Dual Pixel sensor to look through the left and right sides of the camera’s tiny lens at the same time—effectively giving us two cameras for the price of one. Using these two views we compute a depth map: the distance from the camera to each point in the scene. Then we blur the image based on the combination of the depth map and the segmentation mask.The result? Portrait mode. Pictures without (left) and with (right) portrait mode. Photo by Sam Kweskin Portrait mode works a little differently on the front-facing camera, where we aren’t able to produce a depth map the same way we do with the more powerful rear-facing camera. For selfies, we just use our segmentation mask, which works particularly well for selfies since they have simpler compositions. Selfie without (left) and with (right) portrait mode. The front-facing camera identifies whic[...]


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Fighting phishing with smarter protectionsFighting phishing with smarter protectionsDirector, Counter Abuse TechnologySecurity & Privacy

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 15:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we're celebrating with a series of security announcements this week. This is the third post; read the first and second ones.Online security is top of mind for everyone these days, and we’re more focused than ever on protecting you and your data on Google, in the cloud, on your devices, and across the web. One of our biggest focuses is phishing, attacks that trick people into revealing personal information like their usernames and passwords. You may remember phishing scams as spammy emails from “princes” asking for money via wire-transfer. But things have changed a lot since then. Today’s attacks are often very targeted—this is called “spear-phishing”—more sophisticated, and may even seem to be from someone you know.Even for savvy users, today’s phishing attacks can be hard to spot. That’s why we’ve invested in automated security systems that can analyze an internet’s-worth of phishing attacks, detect subtle clues to uncover them, and help us protect our users in Gmail, as well as in other Google products, and across the web.Our investments have enables us to significantly decrease the volume of phishing emails that users and customers ever see. With our automated protections, account security (like security keys) and warnings, Gmail is the most secure email service today.Here is a look at some of the systems that have helped us secure users over time, and enabled us to add brand new protections in the last year. More data helps protect your dataThe best protections against large-scale phishing operations are even larger-scale defenses. Safe Browsing and Gmail spam filters are effective because they have such broad visibility across the web. By automatically scanning billions of emails, webpages, and apps for threats, they enable us to see the clearest, most up-to-date picture of the phishing landscape.We’ve trained our security systems to block known issues for years. But, new, sophisticated phishing emails may come from people’s actual contacts (yes, attackers are able to do this), or include familiar company logos or sign-in pages. Here’s one example: Attacks like this can be really difficult for people to spot. But new insights from our automated defenses have enabled us to immediately detect, thwart and protect Gmail users from subtler threats like these as well. Smarter protections for Gmail users, and beyondSince the beginning of the year, we’ve added brand new protections that have reduced the volume of spam in people’s inboxes even further.We now show a warning within Gmail’s Android and iOS apps if a user clicks a link to a phishing site that’s been flagged by Safe Browsing. These supplement the warnings we’ve shown on the web since last year. We’ve built new systems that detect suspicious email attachments and submit them for further inspection by Safe Browsing. This protects all Gmail users, including G Suite customers, from malware that may be hidden in attachments.We’ve also updated our machine learning models to specifically identify pages that look like common log-in pages and messages that contain spear-phishing signals. Safe Browsing helps protect more than 3 billion devices from phishing, across Google and beyond. It hunts and flags malicious extensions in the Chrome Web Store, helps block malicious ads, helps power Google Play Protect, and more. And of course, Safe Browsing continues to show millions of red warnings about websites it considers dangerous or insecure in multiple browsers—Chrome, Firefox, Safari—and across many different platforms, including iOS and Android. [...]



Making computer science accessible to more students in AfricaMaking computer science accessible to more students in AfricaHead of Computer Science Education Programs, UK & Africa

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 07:00:00 +0000

Computer Science (CS) fosters innovation, critical thinking and empowers students with the skills to create powerful tools to solve major challenges. Yet, many students, especially in their the early years, do not have access to opportunities to develop their technical skills.

At Google, we believe that all students deserve these opportunities. That is why,  in line with our commitment to prepare 10 million people in Africa for jobs of the future, we are funding 60 community organisations to hold training workshops during Africa Code Week 2017.These workshops will give over 50,000 students a chance to engage with CS and learn programming and computational-thinking skills.

Africa Code Week is a grassroots movement that encourages programming by showing how to bring ideas to life with code, demystifying these skills and bringing motivated students together to learn. Google has been involved in this campaign as a primary partner to SAP since 2015, providing sponsorships to organizations running initiatives to introduce students to CS.

This year, we received more than 300 applications from community organizations across Africa. We worked with the Cape Town Science Centre to select and fund 60 of these organizations that will deliver CS workshops to children and teens (ages 8 to 18) from October 18-25 in 10 African countries (Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Gambia and Togo).

Some of the initiatives we are supporting include:

Google is delighted to support these great efforts. Congratulations to the recipient organizations. Step into the world of Google in Computer Science Education at edu.google.com/cs.

(image) Google is supporting Africa Code Week by offering sponsorships to 60 organizations in 10 African countries running initiatives to expose over 50,000 students to computer science.


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Stream YouTube TV using your voice on Google HomeStream YouTube TV using your voice on Google HomeYouTube TV Product Manager

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Google Home, Google Home Mini, and soon Google Home Max, let you enjoy your entertainment hands-free with the Google Assistant. With Chromecast, you can already stream your favorite YouTube clips, Netflix shows (if you have a subscription, of course), and more straight to your TV with a simple voice command.  

Starting today, voice control gets even better on Google Home with support for YouTube TV. Available in most major U.S. cities, YouTube TV now offers live local broadcast feeds from ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as popular cable networks like ESPN, AMC and FX, and regional sports networks.

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Getting started is simple

Once you’ve set up Google Home and Chromecast, open the Google Home app to link the two. After that, simply use your voice to control your YouTube TV experience. Just start with “Ok Google” to ask your Assistant to:

  • Play “This Is Us”
  • Play the MLB game
  • Play MSNBC
  • Play the latest episode of “Grey's Anatomy”
  • Play last week’s “NCIS”
  • Record “Empire”
  • Play, pause, stop, rewind 15 seconds, turn captions on, or fast forward two minutes

Subscribe to YouTube TV, get a Chromecast on us

If you already have Google Home, you’re halfway there. After a free trial, YouTube TV is only $35 per month and you can cancel any time. And for a limited time, we’re offering new YouTube TV members a complimentary Chromecast so you can start streaming on your big screen.


We’re excited about bringing together three of our favorite family members—Google Home, Chromecast, and YouTube TV—so you can enjoy a new way to watch live TV.


Learn more about Google Home and visit YouTube TV to find out if it’s available in your area.

(image) Starting today, voice control gets even better on Google Home with support for YouTube TV.



Time for a refresh: meet the new Google Calendar for webTime for a refresh: meet the new Google Calendar for webProduct Manager, Google Calendar

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Check your schedule. Starting today, a fresh look and new features are coming to Google Calendar on the web to help you manage your time more efficiently and get more done.We’re taking a lot of what you know and love from Calendar’s mobile application, like the modern color palette and sleek design, and bringing it to the web with a responsive layout that auto-adjusts to your screen size. We’ve also added more features for enterprises to help teams schedule and prepare for meetings. Over the years, you’ve shared valuable feedback on how we can enhance Calendar to better fit your needs and we’re excited to bring new improvements. Now, it’s even easier to manage your schedule at your desk. In the new Calendar for web, you can:See conference room details when booking a room. G Suite admins can now enter detailed information about their organization’s meeting rooms—so employees know where a conference room is located, how large it is, and whether it has audio/video equipment or is wheelchair accessible. Employees can simply hover over the room name in Calendar when they want to book a space, and a hovercard will pop up with details about the conference location and resources. Add rich formatting and hyperlinks to your Calendar invites. Link to relevant spreadsheets, documents or presentations in your Calendar invite and open them directly from the new “Event Detail” view. This can help you create more detailed agendas and ensure all materials are in one place before your meeting starts. Manage multiple calendars side by side in “Day” view. Now you can view and manage calendars in separate columns. This makes it easier for employees who manage multiple calendars, like administrative assistants, to schedule meetings on behalf of their teams. Click “Day” view and select the calendars you want to compare. There are a number of other changes in Calendar, too. Now you can see contact information of meeting participants when you hover over their names in a Calendar invite. There’s also a new way to view and restore deleted items in one place in case you accidentally delete a meeting. Additionally, "Day,” "Week,” and "Month" views are now more accessible, featuring better compatibility with screen readers. For more detail on changes, check out this post. These new changes in Calendar can help your teams better manage their time, and G Suite admins can enable these new updates starting today. Read this post for more information on rollout options. And if you use Calendar for personal use, click “Use new Calendar” in the upper righthand corner of the main Calendar view to get started.[...]Check out Google Calendar's new look and features for businesses.


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Pixel Visual Core: image processing and machine learning on Pixel 2Pixel Visual Core: image processing and machine learning on Pixel 2Senior Staff EngineerDirector

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

The camera on the new Pixel 2 is packed full of great hardware, software and machine learning (ML), so all you need to do is point and shoot to take amazing photos and videos. One of the technologies that helps you take great photos is HDR+, which makes it possible to get excellent photos of scenes with a large range of brightness levels, from dimly lit landscapes to a very sunny sky. HDR+ produces beautiful images, and we’ve evolved the algorithm that powers it over the past year to use the Pixel 2’s application processor efficiently, and enable you to take multiple pictures in sequence by intelligently processing HDR+ in the background. In parallel, we’ve also been working on creating hardware capabilities that enable significantly greater computing power—beyond existing hardware—to bring HDR+ to third-party photography applications.To expand the reach of HDR+, handle the most challenging imaging and ML applications, and deliver lower-latency and even more power-efficient HDR+ processing, we’ve created Pixel Visual Core.Pixel Visual Core is Google’s first custom-designed co-processor for consumer products. It’s built into every Pixel 2, and in the coming months, we’ll turn it on through a software update to enable more applications to use Pixel 2’s camera for taking HDR+ quality pictures. Magnified image of Pixel Visual Core Let's delve into the details for you technical folks out there: The centerpiece of Pixel Visual Core is the Google-designed Image Processing Unit (IPU)—a fully programmable, domain-specific processor designed from scratch to deliver maximum performance at low power. With eight Google-designed custom cores, each with 512 arithmetic logic units (ALUs), the IPU delivers raw performance of more than 3 trillion operations per second on a mobile power budget. Using Pixel Visual Core, HDR+ can run 5x faster and at less than one-tenth the energy than running on the application processor (AP). A key ingredient to the IPU’s efficiency is the tight coupling of hardware and software—our software controls many more details of the hardware than in a typical processor. Handing more control to the software makes the hardware simpler and more efficient, but it also makes the IPU challenging to program using traditional programming languages. To avoid this, the IPU leverages domain-specific languages that ease the burden on both developers and the compiler: Halide for image processing and TensorFlow for machine learning. A custom Google-made compiler optimizes the code for the underlying hardware.In the coming weeks, we’ll enable Pixel Visual Core as a developer option in the developer preview of Android Oreo 8.1 (MR1). Later, we’ll enable it for all third-party apps using the Android Camera API, giving them access to the Pixel 2’s HDR+ technology. We can’t wait to see the beautiful HDR+ photography that you already get through your Pixel 2 camera become available in your favorite photography apps. Sidebyside2.jpg Pictures taken on Pixel 2 on a third-party app. Picture on the right is HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core Sidebyside5.jpg Pictures taken on Pixel 2 on a third-party app. Picture on the right is HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core [...]



Google’s strongest security, for those who need it mostGoogle’s strongest security, for those who need it mostAdvanced Protection Product Manager

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we're celebrating with a series of security announcements this week. This is the second post; see our first one here.When operating at the scale of Google, we usually strive to build products that serve the needs of billions of people. Today we’re introducing a different kind of product—one that we specifically tailored to protect the online security of a much smaller set of users.We took this unusual step because there is an overlooked minority of our users that are at particularly high risk of targeted online attacks. For example, these might be campaign staffers preparing for an upcoming election, journalists who need to protect the confidentiality of their sources, or people in abusive relationships seeking safety. Sometimes even the most careful and security-minded users are successfully attacked through phishing scams, especially if those phishing scams were individually targeted at the user in question. To address this need, we’re introducing the Advanced Protection Program. Advanced Protection provides Google’s strongest security, designed for those who are at an elevated risk of attack and are willing to trade off a bit of convenience for more protection of their personal Google Accounts.Once you enroll in Advanced Protection, we’ll continually update the security of your account to meet emerging threats—meaning Advanced Protection will always use the strongest defenses that Google has to offer.At the start, the program focuses on three core defenses.The strongest defense against phishing: Advanced Protection requires the use of Security Keys to sign into your account. Security Keys are small USB or wireless devices and have long been considered the most secure version of 2-Step Verification, and the best protection against phishing. They use public-key cryptography and digital signatures to prove to Google that it’s really you. An attacker who doesn’t have your Security Key is automatically blocked, even if they have your password. Protecting your most sensitive data from accidental sharing: Sometimes people inadvertently grant malicious applications access to their Google data. Advanced Protection prevents this by automatically limiting full access to your Gmail and Drive to specific apps. For now, these will only be Google apps, but we expect to expand these in the future.Blocking fraudulent account access: Another common way hackers try to access your account is by impersonating you and pretending they have been locked out. For Advanced Protection users, extra steps will be put in place to prevent this during the account recovery process—including additional reviews and requests for more details about why you've lost access to your account. We've been testing Advanced Protection for the last several weeks and learning from people like Andrew Ford Lyons, a Technologist at Internews, an international nonprofit organization that has supported the development of thousands of media outlets worldwide. “Journalists, human rights defenders, environment campaigners and civil society activists working on any number of sensitive issues can quickly find themselves targeted by well-resourced and highly capable adversaries," says Andrew. "For those whose work may cause their profile to become more visible, setting this up could be seen as an essential preventative step.” The testers’ feedback was hugely helpful; we’re very appreciative of the time they spent with the product. Related Article New security protections, tailored to [...]



AGDATA Australia: from family farm to global partnersAGDATA Australia: from family farm to global partnersHead of Technology and Business Services

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:25:00 +0000

Editor’s note: As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow, we chatted with Glenn Skerman, who, together with his brother Brendan, are directors of AGDATA Australia, a farming accounting software company. Founded in 1984, their working family farm has grown into a software business that employs 18 team members with over 10,000 customers. AGDATA products are used by farmers all around the world, from the Falkland Islands to Papua New Guinea.Keyword: Can you tell us a bit about yourselves, what inspired you to become entrepreneurs and create this platform for farmers? Glenn Skerman: Actually, our father founded the business back in the 1980s. Originally, he was only trying to solve a problem for himself on the family cattle and grain farm. He was tired of trying to make existing accounting products meet our farm business management needs. Once word got out, others wanted what he had created. And so we formed AGDATA Australia. Business is thriving—we have more than  22,000 active software licenses. We offer solutions that allow farmers to organise their data on crops, livestock and land.Our Phoenix software integrates farm production and financial data to provide farmers with a cost-effective solution that was previously only available to larger manufacturing industries. This levels the playing field a bit more for small and medium businesses.We’re very proud that we’re still a family-owned business.  Glenn Skerman on the left with his brother Brendan on the right at AGDATA’s office. What difference has the internet made for your business?It has completely changed the way we do business. We continue to manage our product development, helpdesk support and administration functions locally, providing jobs for the local economy. Thanks to the internet, we can share data that our customers would otherwise be unable to access. For example, we’re able to share government spatial data directly with users. This provides them information to help them make farm planning decisions. We’ve got greater access to customers all over the world thanks to Google. Our customers once had to learn about our products in person. Now, they can access our products anywhere by jumping onto Google Search, or finding out more about us on YouTube. They can also try our products immediately online, and communicate directly with us.The internet has also allowed us to become more environmentally-friendly. We used to deliver our software on physical disks. Now our customers can access our software online. People used to write cheques as a payment solution; now they’re paying online. We use a lot less paper products and packaging today. We now also deliver online training to our customers around the country.  This is more efficient for both the customers and AGDATA. Can you tell us how AGDATA has helped your customers?Customers benefit from our software in many ways. One said that by using our software, she was able to better monitor her business finances, saving over A$16,000 in interest payments on her loans. Another customer saved over A$30,000 in equipment and labour costs by planning out the irrigation and piping on her farm by overlaying Google Maps using the 3D capability in our Phoenix Mapping software. We’re also proud to help the community. We have an active “Community Involvement Program” and provide software to not-for-profit groups in Regional Australia, which includes all the areas that lie beyond major cities. Last year we were recognised at one of the Regional Australia Institute and Google’s regional[...]


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Siempre SelenaSiempre SelenaGoogle Doodles Global Marketing Lead

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:00:00 +0000

My love of music started with Selena Quintanilla. One of my dearest childhood memories is of my mom and I belting her classics like “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and “Techno Cumbia” in the family van during our annual road trips to Mexico. But Selena’s influence in my life goes so much further than that. I’m the daughter of a Mexican immigrant single mother and grew up in a small, primarily white town in rural Texas. Selena taught me that being Latina was a powerful thing, and that with hard work and focus, I could do whatever I set my mind to. She showed me that my hybrid cultural identity was a valuable gift I should embrace. Watching her made me proud to be Mexicana. Today we celebrate Selena’s legacy with a Google Doodle. Set to her iconic song (and my roadtrip favorite jam) “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” today’s Doodle follows Selena’s early life through the milestones that solidify her legacy as “The Queen of Tejano” and one of the most successful and iconic Mexican-American entertainers of all time. × She released “Selena,” her first studio album with Capitol EMI, on this day in 1989. Among many notable accomplishments throughout her career, she consistently stayed at the top of the billboard charts, and won a Grammy for best Mexican-American album of 1993—making her the first female and youngest Tejano artist to win the award. But she was much more than a talented musician and entertainer. A fashionista and trendsetter, she often designed and created entire outfits for her performance wardrobe. In her free time, she was active in community service, and a strong advocate for education. Above all, Selena is a beacon of inspiration and hope for Latinx, immigrant, and bicultural communities around the globe. By embracing and celebrating all parts of her cultural heritage and persevering in the face of adversity, she forged an emotional connection with millions. In addition to today’s Doodle, we partnered with the Quintanilla family and The Selena Museum to create a new Google Arts & Culture exhibit in honor of Selena. In the experience, you can tour beautiful high-resolution imagery of some of her most prized possessions, including iconic outfits, her first Grammy, her favorite car, and artwork from her adoring fans. We were also honored to host Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s sister, for a Talk at Google last week, which you can check out here. So thank you, Selena, for being a role model and a hero to a little Latina girl in Granbury, TX and to countless others. And thank you for all the inspiration and joy your music and legacy continues to bring to the world.[...]To celebrate the life and legacy of Mexican-American entertainment icon Selena Quintanilla, we’re launching a video Doodle on the Google homepage exploring the story of her life set to one of her most iconic songs “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”.


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New security protections, tailored to youNew security protections, tailored to youSecurity Checkup Product ManagerChrome Security Product Manager

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 20:00:00 +0000

Editor’s Note: October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we're celebrating with a series of security announcements this week. This is our first post; see the second one here.Security is top of mind for everyone these days, and with one troubling headline after another, you may be concerned about the security of your information online.Rest assured: your Google data is secured by the best protections on the planet, and we’ll never stop improving them to ensure your information remains safe.Today, we're announcing two new protections to help you stay safer online—an upgrade to our Security Checkup and new phishing protections in Chrome.Personalized advice from your new Security CheckupWe’re rolling out a revamped Security Checkup, which now provides personalized guidance to help you improve the security of your account. Instead of the same, passive checklist for everyone, the Security Checkup is now a tailored guide to securing your data. The Security Checkup provides a clear security status and personalized recommendations to strengthen your account security When you visit the checkup, you’ll automatically see your security status—a green check mark icon means you’re good to go, and a yellow or red exclamation point icon means there’s at least one issue for you to take care of. The checkup is now your personal security advisor—a useful sidekick that makes it really easy to keep your account secure.The new Security Checkup will keep evolving as new threats arise—you can count on it to provide you with relevant, up-to-date security advice that you can use to keep your account safe. Take the new Security Checkup at g.co/securitycheckup.Predictive phishing protection in ChromeGoogle Safe Browsing has helped protect Chrome users from phishing attacks for over 10 years, and now helps protect more than 3 billion devices every day by showing warnings to people before they visit dangerous sites or download dangerous files.Safe Browsing has always scanned the web for these dangerous sites. But, if a phishing site is created and used for attack moments later, even the quickest scanners can't warn people fast enough. From our years of experience detecting phishing sites, Safe Browsing’s insights can now enable us to make predictions about risks in real time.We’re using this knowledge to test new predictive phishing protections in Chrome. Soon, when you type your Google account password into a suspected phishing site, we'll add additional protections to ensure your account isn't compromised. Those protections will apply even if you use a different browser afterwards. Example of what a user might see if they enter their Google credentials into a suspected phishing page We plan to expand predictive phishing protection to all other passwords you’ve saved in Chrome’s password manager, and enable other apps and browsers that use Safe Browsing technology, like Safari, Firefox and Snapchat, to use it as well.[...]Announcing an upgrade to our Security Checkup and new phishing protections in Chrome.



Meow it’s even easier to find your furry friends in Google PhotosMeow it’s even easier to find your furry friends in Google PhotosSoftware Engineer

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:00:00 +0000

If you have a bunch of photos of your furry friends, you now have the oppawtunity to see them all in one place in Google Photos.

When you want to look back on old photos of Oliver as a puppy or Mr. Whiskers as a kitten, you no longer need to type “dog” or “cat” into search in Google Photos. Rolling out in most countries today, you’ll be able to see photos of the cats and dogs now grouped alongside people, and you can label them by name, search to quickly find photos of them, or even better, photos of you and them. This makes it even easier to create albums, movies, or even a photo book of your pet.

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In addition to now grouping your pets, Google Photos fur-tunately already has a few other features to help you honor your paw-some pet. You can search by breed to see photos of your Poodle or Maine Coon or search by emoji to see all those (image) or (image) photos.

Check the Assistant view in Google Photos to see if we’ve made a pawesome movie starring your pet, which we began rolling out in May. Or if you want to make one yourself, just tap on the new photo group of your pet, select your favorite photos, tap “+” and create a movie (this also works to create a photo book). If you want to swap the soundtrack or create your own movie, we have six pet-inspired songs to choose from in the movie editor—whether you want to raise-the-ruff or add some cattitude.

We hope these features help you better celebrate your four-legged family members in all of their paw-some-ness.

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A cleaner, safer web with Chrome CleanupA cleaner, safer web with Chrome CleanupProduct Manager

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Unwanted software impacts the browsing experience of millions of web users every day. Effects of this harmful software are often quite subtle—search results are modified to redirect users to other pages or additional ads are injected in the pages that users visit. But in some cases, the changes are so severe that they can make the web unusable—people are redirected to unwanted sites full of ads, and it can be next to impossible to navigate away from these pages.Chrome already has tools to help people avoid unwanted software. For example, Safe Browsing prevents many infections from taking place by warning millions of users. But sometimes harmful software slips through.Recently, we rolled out three changes to help Chrome for Windows users recover from unwanted software infections.Hijacked settings detectionExtensions can help make Chrome more useful—like by customizing tab management. But some extensions may change your settings without you even realizing it. Now, when Chrome detects that user settings have been changed without your consent, it will offer to restore the modified settings. In the past month, this feature has helped millions of people recover from unwanted settings. You can also reset your profile settings at any time by visiting chrome://settings/resetProfileSettings.A simpler Chrome CleanupSometimes when you download software or other content, it might bundle unwanted software as part of the installation process without you knowing. That’s why on Chrome for Windows, the Chrome Cleanup feature alerts people when it detects unwanted software and offers a quick way to remove the software and return Chrome to its default settings. We’ve recently completed a full redesign of Chrome Cleanup. The new interface is simpler and makes it easier to see what software will be removed. A more powerful Cleanup engineUnder the hood, we upgraded the technology we use in Chrome Cleanup to detect and remove unwanted software. We worked with IT security company ESET to combine their detection engine with Chrome’s sandbox technology. We can now detect and remove more unwanted software than ever before, meaning more people can benefit from Chrome Cleanup. Note this new sandboxed engine is not a general-purpose antivirus—it only removes software that doesn’t comply with our unwanted software policy.We’ve begun to roll this out to Chrome for Windows users now. Over the next few days, it will help tens of millions of Chrome users get back to a cleaner, safer web.[...]We’ve recently rolled out three major improvements in Chrome that help people remove unwanted software.



Help keep kids safe online with Site Blocking from Google WifiHelp keep kids safe online with Site Blocking from Google Wifi

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:00:00 +0000

Being a parent in today’s connected world can be tough. You want to give your kids the ability to learn and explore across the digital universe, but worry they might stumble upon inappropriate content along the way.


With Site Blocking—the latest addition to Google Wifi's family controls—we're removing some of the worry. Site Blocking allows you to block access to more than 8 million non-kid-friendly websites on any device in your home—all with a few taps in the Google Wifi app.

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Site Blocking uses the best of Google’s SafeSearch technology to protect your family. SafeSearch was created in 2009 to help filter explicit content from your Google Search results, and now we’ve worked with the SafeSearch team to apply some of their technology to Google Wifi. Because SafeSearch is constantly crawling the web for new sites, the list of explicit sites blocked by Wifi’s family controls will automatically be updated in real time.


Site Blocking joins an existing set of Family Wi-Fi controls and will be available over the next day to all Google Wifi users around the world—just open the Google Wifi app to get started. Peace of mind is only a few taps away.


(image) Site Blocking, the latest addition to Google Wifi’s family controls, allows you to block access to more than 8 million adult websites on any device in your home.


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Fight global hunger with your favorite apps and games on Google PlayFight global hunger with your favorite apps and games on Google PlayPartner Development Manager

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:00:00 +0000

We grow enough food to feed everyone on the planet. Yet 815 million people–one in nine—still go to bed on an empty stomach every day.On October 16, people from around the world come together for World Food Day, with the goal to promote awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and to advocate for food security and nutritious diets for all.To raise funds and awareness for this cause, Google Play has joined forces with 12 popular apps and games to create the Apps and Games Against Hunger collection available in North and Latin America.From now until October 21, 100 percent of revenue from designated in-app purchases made in Google Play’s Apps and Games Against Hunger collection will be donated to World Food Program USA.World Food Program USA supports the mission of the UN World Food Programme, the leading agency fighting hunger, by mobilizing individuals, lawmakers and businesses in the U.S. to advance the global movement to end hunger, feeding families in need around the world. These are the 12 global leading apps and games taking part in this special fundraising collection on Google Play:ShareTheMeal–Help children,Peak–Brain Games & Training,Dragon CityCooking FeverAnimation Throwdown: TQFCLegendary: Game of HeroesMy Cafe: Recipes & Stories - World Cooking GameTRANSFORMERS: Forged to FightRodeo Stampede: Sky Zoo SafariJurassic World™: The GameMARVEL Contest of ChampionsSling KongThank you to all our users and developers for supporting World Food Day.[...]To raise funds and awareness for this cause, Google Play has joined forces with 12 popular apps and games to create the Apps and Games Against Hunger collection available in North and Latin America.


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Space out with planets in Google MapsSpace out with planets in Google MapsProduct Manager

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:00:00 +0000

Twenty years ago, the spacecraft Cassini launched from Cape Canaveral on a journey to uncover the secrets of Saturn and its many moons. During its mission, Cassini recorded and sent nearly half a million pictures back to Earth, allowing scientists to reconstruct these distant worlds in unprecedented detail. Now you can visit these places—along with many other planets and moons—in Google Maps right from your computer. For extra fun, try zooming out from the Earth until you're in space!

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Explore the icy plains of Enceladus, where Cassini discovered water beneath the moon's crust—suggesting signs of life. Peer beneath the thick clouds of Titan to see methane lakes. Inspect the massive crater of Mimas—while it might seem like a sci-fi look-a-like, it is a moon, not a space station.  

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Special thanks goes to astronomical artist Björn Jónsson, who assembled the planetary maps of Europa, Ganymede, Rhea, and Mimas by working with imagery from NASA and the European Space Agency.

The fun doesn't stop there—we've added Pluto, Venus, and several other moons for a total of 12 new worlds for you to explore. Grab your spacesuit and check out the rest of this corner of the galaxy that we call home.

(image) Now you can visit many planets and moons in Google Maps right from your computer.


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